I love Bishkek. I just simply love that town. It has such a relaxed atmosphere despite the fact that close to 1 million people live there. With the Tien Shan Mountains in the background and the smell of shashlik (kabobs) on the grill makes me want to return again and again and again! Fortunately, Bishkek is easily accessible for travelers and makes a launching pad for trips throughout Kyrgyzstan or for points throughout Central Asia. Many travelers like to include this magnificent city with their Uzbekistan tours, too!
One of the best things to visit in Bishkek is the State Historical Museum. Located in Ala-Too Square, this museum gives you a view of Kyrgyz history from the Stone Age to today. While it’s recommended to hire an expert to guide you, it’s perfectly sensible to wander among the exhibits on your own. While most of the exhibits are in the Kyrgyz or Russian language, this shouldn’t stop you from enjoying them.
The guided tour starts on the 3rd floor where all of the prehistoric exhibits are located. The 2nd floor focuses on the impact of the Soviet Union’s Era which dominated the 20th century. Particular attention is given to Marx, Engels, Lenin, the Russian Civil War, and the Great Patriotic War (WW II). More recently, an exhibit was added that informs visitors of the April 2010 protests that resulted in the overthrow of the Bakiev government.
The 1st floor houses temporary exhibits, so check with your guide to learn the latest news. Here one will find a few shops for souvenir hunters, too.
Don’t forget to look at the ceiling during your visit! Here you will see a few excellent paintings that create mural that you won’t find in many museums. The paintings cover a significant part of Kyrgyz history from the caveman days to the present, with a couple of them making political commentaries, too.
Bishkek has more than enough things to do to keep you happy, but the State Historical Museum must be placed at the top of the list. If you’re on your tour of Kyrgyzstan be sure that it’s included on your itinerary. If you’re building a tour of Kazakhstan or an Uzbekistan tours, your guide can make certain the museum is on your to-do list!
Greg has lived and worked in Central Asia since 1997. His hands-on understanding of the people, culture, and tourist destinations provides our clients the opportunity to feel comfortable knowing that they are in good hands. His travels throughout Central Asia have given him the opportunity to interact with many professionals in the tourism industry that enables him to providing the highest quality of services anywhere in the world.